As the dawn took over the next day, the city was under a dead silence. One could hear the growling of the dogs that pierced through the wind. Raman was seated on a wooden bench. The night was achingly hard to pass. The final few hours were difficult to control the sleep which overtook him in the wee hours. It lasted a few minutes though. Someone patted his back. He heard someone calling his name. The intention was to keep him alert in the hour of need. He opened his eyes to his sudden astonishment.
Pratap was standing in front of him. “It’s Time to wake up!” His voice was loud and clear. After removing the cloud of dream from his thought, Raman stood up. "Yes sir!" he said saluting firmly. "What is the status about the report I asked you last evening Raman?" asked Pratap. The reply was instant. "It will be done till afternoon, Sir!" he said with a firm tone. Pratap had a strong belief in Raman. He knew that Raman will not let him down at any cost. Pratap nodded and left. Raman was in some sort of dilemma after Pratap left. He could sense something terribly wrong with the Major. Was he trying to hide something?
Raman was preoccupied with the confusion that erupted out of nowhere. In the meanwhile he found himself accompanied by his friend, Yusuf whom he had sent for getting the correct information. They had a small discussion which lasted for few minutes and they left. Yusuf was a part of J&K Police. Initially he tried for the army two times but failed at one test or the other each time. So the next time he became a part of Police. He was extremely fair with a medium built body. But he was quick both by actions and by brain also. His thinking process was excellent. He sported a salt and pepper beard. Every officer took their respective positions. The situation was needed to be controlled at any cost. The twelve hours time given by Pratap to Raman was about to end soon. Raman was content from inside that he had some information to tell to Pratap.
The afternoon arrived early than expected for Pratap. He was very eager to discuss the report with Raman. He was a man who trusted his intuitions more than anything else. But with Raman his faith remained rock solid. Raman marched towards the base. He could see from the small side window a worried Pratap stepping briskly back and forth like a pendulum held freely sways to and fro. Raman stood at the entrance waiting for Pratap to give him permission to march in. Pratap on seeing him had a sigh of relief. He nodded slowly directing him to come in. Sitting on his old but not so fragile chair, Pratap pointed Raman to speak out. Raman was already waiting for the signal, started speaking. "Sir, according to my information, the target for the terrorist scoundrels is not Lal Chowk this time, but they are targeting the Boulevard road market near Dal Lake. I..."
He was interrupted by flabbergasted Pratap in between. Raman stood still waiting for his next order. Pratap frowned. "Who gave this information to you?" He asked, standing up from his chair. He almost jumped out of amazement. He was getting impatient. Each moment he was recalling the phone call, but was not able to decipher the message. It was not that he didn't trust Raman for keeping secrets but he waited for the right time. Maybe it was a mere prank call! But his intuition was not convinced. Raman thought for a while before speaking out "Sir is there anything that is troubling you?" Pratap frowned. "Sometimes the surroundings can be delusive, soldier." With this the room felt silent.
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